Tuesday, October 10, 2006


In contrast to my complaints of research descending into mathematical contortionism last time, I had a four hour conversation on msn with my collaborator in Poland yesterday which was entirely related to the concepts of the problem we're solving. After many hundreds of lines of toing and froing we had decided on the important definitions in our work and, by studying the mathematics which we've been playing with for some time were able to convert this into concepts about the physics. Leaving some things to mull over and with rather sore typing fingers from frantic conversing we left it for the evening. Rather fuzzy minded as I did some tidying in the flat I realised the final steps to the problem and managed to program it up this morning. We seem to be reaching the final steps of the project which is clearly a dangerous thing to say but may just be true. Anyway, a good day for breakthroughs.

Anyway, I promised some photos which follow shortly. First a review of a couple of very strange films which I watched in between food poisoning affecting my schedule this weekend. I'm much better now but whatever disagreed with me came to visit with friends in tow.

David Lynch is known for making films which leave you thinking, often wondering whether there really are answers to the question he poses or whether he's just playing with you. Mullholland Drive I've seen many times now and slowly but surely either bits make sense or I fool myself into thinking they do. I'm convinced that the strange tramp is the same tramp as is found in the Hellraiser movies, but I don't know the link other than the obvious one of both films being about dreams.

Anyway, I didn't watch Mullholland Drive again but I did watch Dumbland, a series of cartoons from David Lynch. This doesn't leave much to the imagination and didn't leave me pondering much at all, just a little disturbed. It's no surprise that the maker of Eraserhead would write something like this, a visceral, cynical view of the worst waste-of-space side of society mixed with some bizarre surreal ideas. Some moments of genius that leave you open-mouthed at the stupidity/abstractness/barbarity of it.

A DVD of Peter Greenaway's early short, experimental films including "A walk through H, the reincarnation of an ornithologist" are interesting ideas though mostly rather overplayed. In fact the highlight of the DVD is Greenaway's post-film commentary where suddenly, unlike Lynch's movies, light is shed on what we've just witnessed making it infinitely more meaningful for those poor souls among us who didn't get the symbolism the first time. I'm not sure if I'd recommend these movies. Greenaway calls them moments of juvenility and although they may be important moments in the history of experimental cinema, I fear that that's all they are and their merits as pieces of entertainment are now lost.

OK, so some pictures from recent adventures.

Tiananmen square during the national holiday was a floral sculpture park with the recent headline grabbers from Chinese achievements:

First the upcoming Olympics are not complete without the overly colourful mascots. They have names, but I've chosen to forget them every time I see them peppering all shop windows from here to Lhasa.

The finishing touches of the three valleys project is another cause for celebration. I remain unsure about how the difficult balance ends up on this one.

While I was in Japan, it was remarked upon that since Sumo has been opened to the rest of the world, Japan has become somewhat less dominant in the sport with Bulgarians, Mongolians and Americans suddenly filling many of the top rankings. It seems that the Chinese also want to get in on the act.

The train to Lhasa is both a trade route and an international symbol by which China can claim firmer ownership of its land. With various details about the construction being in the Guinness book of records, the completion of this filled TV channels for days.

Sunset over Houhai lake.

A trip to the lake in the holiday left us the other side of the bright lights, such that we could admire without being deafened or hassled.

Another trip to Dashanzi to see this months installations had both powerful works and some disturbing installation art, see previous post.


Mr Slong John, MD, SYOP said...

That child is not engaging in Sumo wrestling thoughts, he is taking part in the healthy new internation craze of Soil Your-Own-Pants.

Jonathan Shock said...

Or indeed both.